Longshoreman, Harbor & Dock Worker Injury & Accident
Working in the maritime industry is a very physically demanding and dangerous occupation. The work required of longshoremen, harbor and dock workers is particularly challenging and these maritime employees are at risk for serious injuries each day they are on the job. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA” or “Longshore Act”) is a federal law that provides compensation to longshoremen, harbor workers and other maritime workers who are injured during the course of employment or suffer from diseases caused or worsened by conditions of employment. The Longshore Act applies to accidents and illness that occur on navigable waters in the U.S. or in adjoining areas, such as docks, piers, terminals and other spaces used to load and unload vessels.
Having previously represented stevedores, ship repair facilities and marine insurance companies for 19 years, the maritime attorneys at Brais Law Firm are in a unique position to help longshoremen, harbor and dock workers who have been involved in a shipboard or pier-side accident causing serious personal injury. We are very familiar with the legal nuances underlying Longshore Act claims and our legal team includes Partner Keith Brais, who is board certified by the Florida Bar as a specialist in admiralty and maritime law.Benefits Available Under the LHWCA
Medical and disability benefits, compensation for lost wages, as well as rehabilitation services are recoverable under the Longshore Act. Like many state workers' compensation laws, the right to receive benefits under the LHWCA does not depend upon a finding that the employer was at fault. LHWCA claims are administered by the Federal Department of Labor which has its own notice, time limits and procedural rules. These rules differ from state and federal court systems.Section 905(b)Claims - Third Party Liability
In addition to providing certain benefits payable by employers, the LHWCA also allows an injured maritime worker to bring suit against negligent persons or entities, other than his/her employer, for damages in addition to those provided under the Act. Such “third-party” liability claims commonly arise when accidents occur on vessels due to the ship owners’ or crews’ negligence. In many situations involving serious on-the-job injuries, the benefits provided under the Longshore Act itself may be insufficient to cover the injured workers’ full damages and losses. Section 905(b) of the LHWCA gives the injured worker an additional legal avenue to recover damages for the injuries sustained.
Unlike LHWCA claims against employers that must be administered by the Department of Labor, suits against non-employer negligent third-parties are brought in courts. In a 905(b) third-party claim, damages available to the injured longshore worker can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of family and personal services
- Permanent disability and disfigurement
- Funeral benefits (where the worker’s injuries were fatal)
The LHWCA is a complicated act to navigate on your own. Depending upon the circumstances surrounding your accident or injury, you may be able to collect benefits provided for under the Act and pursue a third-party lawsuit against the vessel owner or other at-fault parties. The maritime attorneys at Brais Law Firm have a full understanding of the intricacies of the LHWCA. We will carefully evaluate your case and identify all available legal avenues to help you recover the full compensation you deserve. You can schedule a free consultation with a maritime injury lawyer today by calling 800-499-0551 or completing our online contact form.